In the Matter of J.G. – Urging Belated Appeals in TPR Cases

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: J.G. and C.G. (minor children) and B.G. (mother) vs. the Indiana Department of Child Services, issued on February 27, 2014, relates to an appeal of the mother’s termination of parental rights.  This is yet another case where the party was deemed to have forfeited her right to appeal because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, and the appeal was dismissed.

In this case, the order terminating the mother’s parental rights was issued on March 25, 2013, which “starts the clock.”  The mother then had thirty days to perfect the appeal pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 9(A)(1).  According to the case facts, “Mother filed a Notice of Intent to Appeal on April 4, 2013.  In that document, she requested the appointment of separate, outside counsel for appeal of the March 25, 2013 termination order.  The trial court appointed appellate counsel on April 25, 2013, and Mother’s Notice of Appeal was filed on May 3, 2013, well past the thirty-day time limit for filing appeals of final judgments.”

The information contained in the April 4, 2013, Notice of Intent to Appeal did not contain all of the required information for a Notice of Appeal laid out in Ind. Appellate Rule 9(F), and the trial court did not appoint appellate counsel until more than thirty days from the date the final judgment was issued.  Despite mother’s attempt to preserve her appellate rights, because of the defects in the Notice of Intent to Appeal and the lack of timeliness, the Court of Appeals found that the mother forfeited her right to appeal.

However, given the frequency of these deadline violations and the magnitude of the rights involved, in footnote 1, the Indiana Court of Appeals judges noted:

“Given the constitutional rights implicated in these proceedings, we urge our supreme court to consider allowing belated appeals in cases where the parent’s parental rights have been terminated. As our courts have often stated: “The traditional right of parents to establish a home and raise their children is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” In re M.B., 666 N.E.2d 73, 76 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996), trans. denied. However, a trial court must subordinate the interests of the parents to those of the child when evaluating the circumstances surrounding a termination. In the Matter of Termination of the Parent Child Relationship of K.S., 750 N.E.2d 832, 837 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001).”

The post In the Matter of J.G. – Urging Belated Appeals in TPR Cases first appeared on the Indiana Juvenile Justice Blog.

This entry was posted in Appeals, CHINS, Court Proceedings, DCS, TPR and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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